Middle Temple, 1710-11. "When a man has been guilty of any vice or folly, I think the best atonement he can make for it, is to warn others not to fall into the like. In order to this, I must acquaint you, that some time in February last I went to the Tuesday's masquerade. Upon my first going in I was attacked by half-adozen female Quakers, who seemed willing to adopt me for a brother; but upon a nearer examination I found they were a sisterhood of coquettes, disguised in that precise habit. I was soon after taken out to dance, and, as I fancied, by a woman of the first quality, for she was very tall, and moved gracefully. As soon as the minuet was over, we ogled one another through our masks; and as I am very well read in Waller, I repeated to her the four following verses out of his poem to Vandyke:

The heedless lover does not know
Whose eyes they are that wound him so
But confounded with thy art,

Inquires her name that has his heart.

I pronounced these words with such a languishing air, that I had some reason to conclude I had made a conquest. She told me that she hoped my face was not akin to my tongue, and looking upon her watch, I accidentally discovered the figure of a coronet on the back part of it. I was so transported with the thought of such an amour, that I plied her from one room to another with all the gallantries I could invent: and at length brought things to so happy an issue, that she gave me a private meeting the next day, without page or footman, coach or equipage. My heart danced in raptures, but I had not lived in this golden dream above three days, before I found a good reason to wish that I had continued true to my laundress. I have since heard, by a very great accident, that this fine lady does not live far from Covent-garden, and that I am not the first cully whom she has passed herself upon for a


well suppose) to entertain one another with sprightliness and wit, but to keep one another in countenance. The room where the club met was something of the largest, and had two entrances, the one by a door of a moderate size, and the other by a pair of folding-doors. If a candidate for this corpulent club could make his entrance through the first, he was looked upon as unqualified; but if he stuck in the passage, and could not force his way through it, the folding-doors were immediately thrown open for his reception, and he was saluted as a brother. I have heard that this club, though it consisted but of fifteen persons, weighed above three ton.

In opposition to this society, there sprung up another composed of scarecrows and skeletons, who, being very meagre and envious, did all they could to thwart the designs of their bulky brethren, whom they represented as men of dangerous principles; till at length they worked them out of the favour of the people, and consequently out of the magistracy. These factions tore the corporation in pieces for several years, till at length they came to this accomodation; that the two bailiffs of the town should be annually chosen out of the two clubs; by which means the principal magistrates are at this day coupled like rabbits, one fat and one lean.

Every one has heard of the club, or rather the confederacy, of the kings. This grand alliance was forined a little after the return of King Charles the Second, and admitted into it men of all qualities and professions, provided they agreed in the surname of King, which, as they imagined, sufficiently declared the owners of it to be altogether untainted with republican and anti-monarchical principles.

A Christian name has likewise been often used as a badge of distinction, and made the occasion of a club. That of the George's, which used to meet at the sign of the George, on St. George's-day, and swear "Before George," is still fresh in every one's memory.

There are at present, in several parts of this city, "Thus, Sir, you see how I have mistaken a cloud what they call street-clubs, in which the chief inhafor a Juno; and if you can make any use of this bitants of the street converse together every night. adventure for the benefit of those who may possibly I remember, upon my inquiring after lodgings in Orbe as vain young coxcombs as myself, I do most mond street, the landlord, to recommend that quarter heartily give you leave. of the town, told me there was at that time a very good club in it; he also told me, upon farther discourse with him, that two or three noisy country 'squires, who were settled there the year before, had considerI design to visit the next masquerade myself, in ably sunk the price of house-rent; and that the club the same habit I wore at Grand Cairo; and till then (to prevent the like inconveniences for the future) had shall suspend my judgment of this midnight enter-thoughts of taking every house that became vacant tainment.-C.

"I am, Sir,

"Your most humble admirer, B. L."

Letters for the Spectator, to be left with Mr. Buckley, at the Dolphin, in Little Britain.-Spect. in folio.

into their own hands, till they had found a tenant for it, of a sociable nature and good conversation.

The Hum-drum club, of which I was formerly an unworthy member, was made up of very honest gentlemen of peaceable dispositions, that used to sit together, smoke their pipes, and say nothing till midnight. The Mum club (as I am informed) is an institution of the same nature, and as great an enemy to noise.

No. 9.] SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 1710-11. Tigris agit rabida cum tigride pacem Perpetuam, sævis inter se convent ursis.-Juv. Sat. xv. 163. Tiger with tiger, bear with bear, you'll find In leagues offensive and defensive join'd.—TATE. After these two innocent societies, I cannot forbear MAN is said to be a sociable animal, and, as an in. mentioning a very mischievous one, that was erected stance of it, we may observe that we take all occa- in the reign of King Charles the Second; I mean the sions and pretences of forming ourselves into those club of Duellists, in which none was to be admitted little nocturnal assemblies, which are commonly that had not fought his man. The president of it was known by the name of clubs. When a set of men said to have killed half a dozen in single combat; find themselves agree in any particular, though never and as for the other members, they took their seats so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of according to the number of their slain. There was fraternity, and meet once or twice a week, upon the likewise a side-table, for such as had only drawn blood, account of such a fantastic resemblance. I know a and shown a laudable ambition of taking the first opconsiderable market-town, in which there was a club portunity to qualify themselves for the first table. of fat men, that did not come together (as you may|This club, consisting only of men of honour, did not

continue long, most of the members of it being put to the sword, or hanged, a little after its institution.

Our modern celebrated clubs are founded upon eating and drinking, which are points wherein most men agree, and in which the learned and the illiterate, the dull and the airy, the philosopher and the buffoon, can all of them bear a part. The Kit-cat itself is said to have taken its original from a muttonpie. The beef-steak† and October clubs, are neither of them averse to eating and drinking, if we may form a judgment of them from their respective titles.

When men are thus knit together, by a love of society, not a spirit of faction, and do not meet to censure or annoy those that are absent, but to enjoy one another; when they are thus combined for their own improvement, or for the good of others, or at least to relax themselves from the business of the day by an innocent and cheerful conversation, there may be something very useful in these little institutions and establishments.

I cannot forbear concluding this paper with a scheme of laws that I met with upon a wall in a little alehouse. How I came thither I may inform my reader at a more convenient time. These laws were enacted by a knot of artisans and mechanics, who used to meet every night; and as there is something in them which gives us a pretty picture of low life, I shall transcribe them word for word.

Rules to be observed in the Two-penny Club, erected in this place for the preservation of friendship and good neighbourhood.

12. No non-juror shall be capable of being a member.

wholesome laws and penalties, that I question not The morality of this little club is guarded by such but my reader will be as well pleased with them as he would have been with the Leges Convivales of Ben Jonson, the regulations of an old Roman club cited by Lipsius, or the rules of a Symposium in an ancient Greek author.

No. 10.] MONDAY, MARCH 12, 1710-11.
Non aliter quam qui adverso vix flumine lembum
Remigiis subigit; si brachia forte remisit,
Atque illum in præceps prono rapit alveus amni.
VIRG. Georg. i. 201.

So the boat's brawny crew the current stem,
And, slow advancing, struggle with the stream:
But if they slack their hands, or cease to strive,
Then down the flood with headlong haste they drive.

It is with much satisfaction that I hear this great city inquiring day by day after these my papers, and receiving my morning lectures with a becoming seriousness and attention. My publisher tells me, that there are already three thousand of them distributed every day: so that if I allow twenty readers to every paper, which I look upon as a modest computation, may reckon about threescore thousand disciples in London and Westminster, who I hope will take care to distinguish themselves from the thoughtless herd of their ignorant and inattentive brethren. Since I have raised to myself so great an audience, I shall and their diversion useful. For which reasons I spare no pains to make their instruction agreeable, shall endeavour to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality, that my readers may, if tion of the day. And to the end that their virtue possible, both ways find their account in the speculaand discretion may not be short, transient, intermitneigh-memories from day to day, till I have recovered ting starts of thought, I have resolved to refresh their into which the age is fallen. The mind that lies them out of that desperate state of vice and folly, half-fallow for a single day, sprouts up in follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous culture.

1. Every member at his first coming in shall lay down his two-pence.

2. Every member shall fill his pipe out of his own


3. If any member absents himself, he shall forfeit a penny for the use of the club, unless in case of sickness or imprisonment.

4. If any member swears or curses, his bour may give him a kick upon the shins. 5. If any member tells stories in the club that are not true, he shall forfeit for every third lie an


6. If any member strikes another wrongfully, he shall pay his club for him.

7. If any member brings his wife into the club, he shall pay for whatever she drinks or smokes.

8. If any member's wife comes to fetch him home from the club, she shall speak to him without the door. 9. If any member calls another a cuckold, he shall be turned out of the club.

10. None shall be admitted into the club that is of the same trade with any member of it.

11. None of the club shall have his clothes or shoes made or mended, but by a brother member.

• An account of this club, which took its name from Christopher Cat, the maker of their mutton-pies, has been given in

and form, are at this time called kit-cat pictures. The original

It was said of Socrates, that he brought Philosophy shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have down from heaven, to inhabit among men; and I schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assembrought Philosophy out of closets and libraries, blies, at tea-tables, and in coffee-houses.

I would therefore in a very particular manner recommend these my speculations to all well regulated families, that set apart an hour in every morning for vise them for their good to order this paper to be tea and bread and butter; and would earnestly adpunctually served up, and to be looked upon as a part of the tea-equipage.

Sir Francis Bacon observes, that a well-written the new edition of the Tatler, with notes, in 6 vols. The por- book, compared with its rivals and antagonists, is traits of its members were drawn by Kneller, who was himself like Moses's serpent, that immediately swallowed one of their number, and all portraits of the same dimensions up and devoured those of the Egyptians. I shall portraits are now the property of William Baker, Esq., to whom not be so vain as to think, that where the Spectator they came by inheritance from J. Tonson, who was secretary appears, the other public prints will vanish: but shall to the club. It was originally formed in Shire-lane, about the leave it to my reader's consideration, whether it is time of the trial of the seven bishops, for a little free evening not much better to be let into the knowledge of conversation; but in Queen Anne's reign comprehended above forty noblemen and gentlemen of the first rank for quality, merit, and fortune, firm friends of the Hanoverian succession. ↑ of this club, it is said, that Mrs. Woffington, the only + woman in it, was president; Richard Estcourt, the comedian, was their providore; and as an honourable badge of his office, wore a small gridiron of gold hung round his neck with a green silk riband.

one's self, than to hear what passes in Muscovy or Poland: and to amuse ourselves with such writings as tend to the wearing out of ignorance, passion, and prejudice, than such as naturally conduce to inflame hatreds, and make enmities irreconcileable. In the next place I would recommend this paper

to the daily perusal of those gentlemen whom I cannot but consider as my good brothers and allies, I mean the fraternity of Spectators, who live in the world without having any thing to do in it; and either by the affluence of their fortunes, or laziness of their dispositions, have no other business with the rest of mankind, but to look upon them. Under this class of men are comprehended all contemplative tradesmen, titular physicians, fellows of the royal society, Templars that are not given to be contentious, and statesmen that are out of business; in short, every one that considers the world as a theatre, and desires to form a right judgment of those who are the actors on it.

There is another set of men that I must likewise lay a claim to, whom I have lately called the blanks of society, as being altogether unfurnished with ideas, till the business and conversation of the day has supplied them. I have often considered these poor souls with an eye of great commiseration, when I have heard them asking the first man they have met with, whether there was any news stirring? and by that means gathering together materials for thinking. These needy persons do not know what to talk of, till about twelve o'clock in the morning; for by that time they are pretty good judges of the weather, know which way the wind sets, and whether the Dutch mail be come in. As they lie at the mercy of the first man they meet, and are grave or impertinent all the day long, according to the notions which they have imbibed in the morning, I would earnestly intreat of them not to stir out of their chambers till they have read this paper, and do promise them that I will daily instil into them such sound and wholesome sentiments, as shall have a good effect on their conversation for the ensuing twelve hours.

But there are none to whom this paper will be more useful than to the female world. I have often thought there has not been sufficient pains taken in finding out proper employment and diversions for the fair ones. Their amusements seem contrived for them, rather as they are women, than as they are reasonable creatures; and are more adapted to the sex than to the species. The toilet is their great scene of business, and the right adjusting of their hair the principal employment of their lives. The sorting of a suit of ribands is reckoned a very good morning's work; and if they make an excursion to a mercer's or a toy-shop, so great a fatigue makes them unfit for any thing else all the day after. Their more serious occupations are sewing and embroidery, and their greatest drudgery the preparation of jellies and sweetmeats. This, I say, is the state of ordinary women; though I know there are multitudes of those of a more elevated life and conversation, that move in an exalted sphere of knowledge and virtue, that join all the beauties of the mind to the ornaments of dress, and inspire a kind of awe and respect, as well as love, into their male beholders. I hope to increase the number of these by publishing this daily paper, which I shall always endeavour to make an innocent if not an improving entertainment, and by that means, at least, divert the minds of my female readers from greater trifles. At the same time, as I would fain give some finishing touches to those which are already the most beautiful pieces in human nature, I shall endeavour to point out all those imperfections that are the blemishes, as well as those virtues which are the embellishments of the sex. In the mean while, I hope these my gentle readers, who have so much time on their hands, will

not grudge throwing away a quarter of an hour in a day upon this paper, since they may do it without any hinderance to business.

I know several of my friends and well-wishers are in great pain for me, lest I should not be able to keep up the spirit of a paper which I oblige myself to furnish every day; but to make them easy in this particular, I will promise them faithfully to give it over as soon as I grow dull. This I know will be matter of great raillery to the small wits, who will frequently put me in mind of my promise, desire me to keep my word, assure me that it is high time to give over, with many other little pleasantries of the like nature, which men of a little smart genius cannot forbear throwing out against their best friends, when they have such a handle given them of being witty. But let them remember, that I do hereby enter my caveat against this piece of raillery.-C.

No. 11.] TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 1710-11. Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas.—Juv. Sat. ii. 63, The doves are censur'd, while the crows are spar'd,

ARIETTA is visited by all persons of both sexes, who have any pretence to wit and gallantry. She is in that time of life which is neither affected with the follies of youth, nor infirmities of age; and her conversation is so mixed with gaiety and prudence, that she is agreeable both to the old and the young. Her behaviour is very frank, without being in the least blameable: and as she is out of the track of any amorous or ambitious pursuits of her own, her visitants entertain her with accounts of themselves very freely, whether they concern their passions or their interests. I made her a visit this afternoon, having been formerly introduced to the honour of her acquaintance by my friend Will Honeycomb, who has prevailed upon her to admit me sometimes into her assembly, as a civil inoffensive man. I found her accompanied with one person only, a common-place talker, who, upon my entrance, arose, and after a very slight civility sat down again; then, turning to Arietta, pursued his discourse, which I found was upon the old topic of constancy in love. He went on with great facility in repeating what he talks every day of his life; and with the ornaments of insignificant laughs and gestures, enforced his arguments by quotations out of plays and songs, which allude to the perjuries of the fair, and the general levity of women. Methought he strove to shine more than ordinarily in his talkative way, that he might insult my silence, and distinguish himself before a woman of Arietta's taste and understanding. She had often an inclination to interrupt him, but could find no opportunity, till the larum ceased of itself, which it did not till he had repeated and murdered the celebrated story of the Ephesian Matron.

Arietta seemed to regard this piece of raillery as an outrage done to her sex; as indeed I have always observed that women, whether out of a nicer regard to their honour, or what other reason I cannot tell, are more sensibly touched with those general aspersions which are cast upon their sex, than men are by what is said of theirs.

When she had a little recovered herself from the serious anger she was in, she replied in the following manner:

"Sir, when I consider how perfectly new all you have said on this subject is, and that the story you have given us is not quite two thousand years old, I cannot but think it a piece of presumption to dis

pate it with you; but your quotations put me in of these good offices, she would sometimes play with mind of the fable of the lion and the man. The his hair, and delight in the opposition of its colour man walking with that noble animal, showed him, to that of her fingers: then open his bosom, then in the ostentation of human superiority, a sign of a laugh at him for covering it. She was, it seems, a man killing a lion. Upon which, the lion said very person of distinction, for she every day came to him justly, We lions are none of us painters, else we in a different dress, of the most beautiful shells, bucould show a hundred men killed by lions for one gles, and beads. She likewise brought him a great lion killed by a man.' You men are writers, and many spoils, which her other lovers had presented to can represent us women as unbecoming as you her, so that his cave was richly adorned with all the please in your works, while we are unable to return spotted skins of beasts, and most party-coloured fea the injury. You have twice or thrice observed in thers of fowls, which that world afforded. To make your discourse, that hypocrisy is the very foundation his confinement more tolerable, she would carry him of our education; and that an ability to dissemble in the dusk of the evening, or by the favour of moonour affections is a professed part of our breeding. light, to unfrequented groves and solitudes, and show These and such other reflections are sprinkled up him where to lie down in safety, and sleep amidst the and down the writings of all ages, by authors, who falls of waters and melody of nightingales. Her part leave behind them memorials of their resentment was to watch and hold him awake in her arms, for against the scorn of particular women, in invectives fear of her countrymen, and wake him on occasions against the whole sex. Such a writer, I doubt not, to consult his safety. In this manner did the lovers was the celebrated Petronius, who invented the pass away their time, till they had learned a lanpleasant aggravations of the Ephesian lady; but guage of their own, in which the voyager communiwhen we consider this question between the sexes, cated to his mistress how happy he should be to have which has been either a point of dispute or raillery her in his country, where she should be clothed in ever since there were men and women, let us take such silks as his waistcoat was made of, and be carfacts from plain people, and from such as have not ried in houses drawn by horses, without being exeither ambition or capacity to embellish their nar-posed to wind or weather. All this he promised her rations with any beauties of imagination. I was the other day amusing myself with Lignon's Account of Barbadoes; and, in answer to your well-wrought tale, I will give you, (as it dwells upon my memory) out of that honest traveller, in his fifty-fifth page, the history of Inkle and Yarico.

the enjoyment of, without such fears and alarms as they were there tormented with. In this tender cor. respondence these lovers lived for several months, when Yarico, instructed by her lover, discovered a vessel on the coast, to which she made signals; and in the night, with the utmost joy and satisfaction, accompanied him to a ship's crew of his countrymen bound to Barbadoes. When a vessel from the main arrives in that island, it seems the planters come down to the shore, where there is an immediate mar ket of the Indians and other slaves, as with us of horses and oxen.

"To be short, Mr. Thomas Inkle, now coming into English territories, began seriously to reflect upon his loss of time, and to weigh with himself how many days interest of his money he had lost during his stay with Yarico. This thought made the young man pensive, and careful what account he should be able to give his friends of his voyage. Upon which consideration, the prudent and frugal young man sold Yarico to a Barbadian merchant; notwithstanding that the poor girl, to incline him to commisserate her condition, told him that she was with child by him: but he only made use of that information, to rise in his demands upon the purchaser.'


"Mr. Thomas Inkle, of London, aged twenty years, embarked in the Downs, in the good ship called the Achilles, bound for the West Indies, on the 16th of June, 1647, in order to improve his fortune by trade and merchandize. Our adventurer was the third son of an eminent citizen, who had taken particular care to instil into his mind an early love of gain, by making him a perfect master of numbers, and consequently giving him a quick view of loss and advantage, and preventing the natural impulses of his passions, by prepossession towards his interests. With a mind thus turned, young Inkle had a person every way agreeable, a ruddy vigour in his countenance, strength in his limbs, with ringlets of fair hair loosely flowing on his shoulders. It happened, in the course of the voyage, that the Achilles, in some distress, put into a creek on the main of America, in search of provisions. The youth, who is the hero of my story, among others went on shore on this occasion. From their first landing they were observed by a party of Indians, who hid themselves in the woods for that purpose. The English unadvisedly marched a great distance from the shore into the country, and were intercepted by the natives, who slew the greatest number of them. Our adventurer escaped among others, by flying into a forest. Upon his coming into a remote and pathless part of the wood, he threw himself, tired and breathless, on a No. 12.] WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 1710-11. little hillock, when an Indian maid rushed from a thicket behind him. After the first surprise they appeared mutually agreeable to each other. If the European was highly charmed with the limbs, features, and wild graces of the naked American; the American was no less taken with the dress, complexion, and shape of an European, covered from head to foot. The Indian grew immediately enamoured of him, and consequently solicitous for his preservation. She therefore conveyed him to a cave, where she gave him a delicious repast of fruits, and led him to a stream to slake his thirst. In the midst SPECTATOR-Nos, 3 & 4.

I was so touched with this story (which I think should be always a counterpart to the Ephesian Matron) that I left the room with tears in my eyes, which a woman of Arietta's good sense did, I am sure, take for greater applause than any compliments I could make her.-R.

Veteres avias tibi de pulmone revello.
PERS. Sat. v. 92.

I root th' old woman from thy trembling heart.
Ar my coming to London, it was some time be-
fore I could settle myself in a house to my liking.
I was forced to quit my first lodgings, by reason of
an officious landlady, that would be asking me every
morning how I had slept. I then fell into an honest
family, and lived very happily for above a week;
when my landlord, who was a jolly good-natured
man, took it into his head that I wanted company,
and therefore would frequently come into my cham-


ber, to keep me from being alone. This I bore for am sure, will be the worse for it as long as they live. two or three days; but telling me one day that he I heard one of the girls, that had looked upon me was afraid I was melancholy, I thought it was high over her shoulder, asking the company how long I time for me to be gone, and accordingly took new had been in the room, and whether I did not look lodgings that very night. About a week after, I paler than I used to do. This put me under some found my jolly landlord, who, as I said before, was apprehensions that I should be forced to explain an honest, hearty man, had put me into an adver-myself, if I did not retire; for which reason I took tisement in the Daily Courant, in the following the candle into my hand, and went up into my words: "Whereas a melancholy man left his lodg-chamber, not without wondering at this unaccountings on Thursday last in the afternoon, and was able weakness in reasonable creatures, that they afterward seen going towards Islington: if any one should love to astonish and terrify one another. can give notice of him to R. B., fishmonger in the Were I a father, I should take a particular care to Strand, he shall be very well rewarded for his pains." preserve my children from these little horrors of imaAs I am the best man in the world to keep my own gination, which they are apt to contract when they counsel, and my landlord the fishmonger not know-are young, and are not able to shake off when they ing my name, this accident of my life was never are in years. I have known a soldier that has endiscovered to this very day. tered a breach, affrighted at his own shadow, and I am now settled with a widow woman, who has a look pale upon a little scratching at his door, who great many children, and complies with my humour the day before had marched up against a battery of in every thing. I do not remember that we have cannon. There are instances of persons who have exchanged a word together these five years; my been terrified even to distraction at the figure of a coffee comes into my chamber every morning with-tree, or the shaking of a bulrush. The truth of it out asking for it; if I want fire I point to my chim- is, I look upon a sound imagination as the greatest ney, if water to my bason; upon which my landlady blessing of life, next to a clear judgment and a good nods, as much as to say, she takes my meaning, and conscience. In the mean time, since there are very immediately obeys my signals. She has likewise few whose minds are not more or less subject to modelled her family so well, that when her little boy these dreadful thoughts and apprehensions, we ought offers to pull me by the coat or prattle in my face, to arm ourselves against them by the dictates of reahis eldest sister immediately calls him off, and bids son and religion, "to pull the old woman out of him not to disturb the gentleman. At my first en- our hearts" (as Persius expresses it in the motto of tering into the family, I was troubled with the my paper,) and extinguish those impertinent notions civility of their rising up to me every time I came which we imbibed at a time that we were not able to into the room; but my landlady observing that upon judge of their absurdity. Or, if we believe, as many these occasions I always cried Pish, and went out wise and good men have done, that there are such again, has forbidden any such ceremony to be used phantoms and apparitions as those I have been speakin the house; so that at present I walk into the ing of, let us endeavour to establish to ourselves au kitchen or parlour, without being taken notice of, or interest in him who holds the reins of the whole giving any interruption to the business or discourse creation in his hands, and moderates them after such of the family. The maid will ask her mistress a manner, that it is impossible for one being to break (though I am by) whether the gentleman is ready loose upon another, without his knowledge and per to go to dinner, as the mistress (who is indeed an mission. excellent housewife) scolds at the servants heartily before my face as behind my back. In short, I move up and down the house, and enter into all companies with the same liberty as a cat, or any other domestic animal, and am as little suspected of telling any thing that I hear or see.


I remember last winter there were several young girls of the neighbourhood sitting about the fire with my landlady's daughters, and telling stories of spirits and apparitions. Upon my opening the door the young women broke off their discourse, but my landlady's daughters telling them that it was nobody but the gentleman (for that is the name which I go by in the neighbourhood, as well as in the family,) they went on without minding me. I seated myself by the candle that stood on a table at one end of the room; and pretending to read a book that I took out of my pocket, heard several dreadful stories of ghosts, as pale as ashes, that had stood at the feet of a bed, or walked over a church-yard by moonlight; and of others that had been conjured into the Red Sea for disturbing people's rest, and drawing their curtains at midnight-with many other old women's fables of the like nature. As one spirit raised another, I ob. served that at the end of every story the whole company closed their ranks, and crowded about the fire. I took notice in particular of a little boy, who was so attentive to every story, that I am mistaken if he ventures to go to bed by himself this twelvemonth. Indeed they talked so long, that the imaginations of the whole assembly were manifestly crazed, and, I

For my own part, I am apt to join in the opinion with those who believe that all the regions of nature swarm with spirits; and that we have multitudes of spectators on all our actions, when we think outselves most alone; but instead of terrifying myself with such a notion, I am wonderfully pleased to think that I am always engaged with such an innu merable society in searching out the wonders of the creation, and joining in the same concert of praise and adoration.

Milton has finely described this mixed communion of men and spirits in Paradise; and had doubtless his eye upon a verse in old Hesiod, which is almost word for word the same with his third line in the fol lowing passage:

Nor think, though men were none,
That heav'n would want spectators, God want praise:
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep;
AH these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night. How often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices, to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator? Oft in bands,
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds,
In full harmonic number join'd, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven.
PARAD. LOST, iv. 67)


[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »